Friday, June 26, 2009

RapidShare Fined $33 million

Court rules site, and others like it, are responsible for ensuring copyrighted material isn’t illegally hosted on their servers.

The Hamburg Regional Court of Germany has ruled against German-owned file hosting website RapidShare this past Tuesday. It found the site guilty of violation of German copyright law and set damages at about €24 million ($33.4 million).

In what could prove a key precedent, the court found Rapidshare, and by extension similar file-sharing sites, bear principle responsibility for ensuring copyright-protected material is not illegally posted on their servers.

The ruling was a major victory for German royalty collection agency GEMA, which had brought the suit against Rapidshare for allowing some 5,000 protected music titles to be posted on their site.

“The judgment states that the hosting service itself is now responsible for making sure that none of the music tracks concerned are distributed via its platform in the future,” said GEMA in a press release. “This means that the copyright holder is no longer required to perform the ongoing and complex checks.”

RapidShare’s been under assault by copyright holders for a while now, it’s most recent attacker being German book publishers who wanted the site placed on the ISP’s blacklist of blocked sites.

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